Alcohol Consumption in Ireland


  • In 2014, the average Irish person aged 15+ drank 11 litres of pure alcohol, up from 10.73 in 2013.
  • More than half (54%) of 18-75 year old drinkers were classified as harmful drinkers which equates to 1.35 million harmful drinkers in Ireland (source)
  • 75% of all alcohol consumed in Ireland in 2013 was done so as part of a binge drinking session (source)
  • One in five (21.1%) drinkers engage in binge drinking at least once a week (source)
  • Almost two thirds (64.3%) of 18-24 year old drinkers consume six or more standard drinks on a typical drinking session (source)
  • One third (33%) of men and more than one fifth (23%) of women who consumed alcohol in the week prior to the Health Research Board’s Irish Alcohol Diaries 2013survey consumed more than the HSE low risk drinking guidelines of 16.8 standard drinks for men and 11.2 standard drinks for women
  • One in eight (13%) men and almost one in ten (9%) women drank their recommended weekly guidelines in one sitting in the week prior to the HRB survey. Among 18-24 year-olds, 28% of men and 22% of women consume weekly guidelines in one sitting
  • The World Health Organisation’s Global status report on alcohol and health 2014 found that 39% of all Irish people aged 15-years-old and over had engaged in binge drinking, or “heavy episodic drinking”, in the past 30 days. This puts Ireland just behind Austria (40.5%) at the top of the 194 countries studied and well ahead of our neighbours in Britain (28%) (source)
  • When the 19% of non-drinkers in Ireland were excluded by the WHO, it found that almost two thirds of Irish men (62.4%) and one third of Irish women (33.1%) who drink alcohol had engaged in binge drinking in the previous month, almost half (48.2%) of all drinkers
  • Over half of all Irish drinkers have a harmful pattern of drinking, according to the SLÁN survey, that’s 4 in 10 women and 7 in 10 men who drink, which amounts to an estimated 1,453,250 adults
  • When we consider the fact that one in five adults in Ireland don’t drink alcohol, it means that those who do drink are consuming much more than the average consumption statistics show
  • Average alcohol consumption in 2010 was 145% higher than the average amount consumed in 1960
  • Alcohol consumption in Ireland increased by 46% between 1987 (9.8 litres) and 2001 (14.3 litres) when our consumption reached a record high
  • OECD figures show how alcohol consumption in Ireland almost trebled over four decades between 1960 (4.9 litres) and 2000 (14.2 litres)
  • Ireland continues to rank among the highest consumers of alcohol in the 26 countries in the enlarged EU.
  • From 1980 to 2010, average alcohol consumption in Europe decreased by an average of 15 per cent, while consumption in Ireland over that period increased by 24 per cent
  • Irish adults binge drink more than adults in any other European country, with 44 per cent of drinkers stating that they binge drink on a regular basis